Reading Love Poetry

Course information


Reading Love Poetry – BA level!


Prof. György E. Szönyi

Course code








Course description

Short description

The purpose of the course is to introduce the students to literary texts concentrating on a thematig group of works: that is love poetry. Since the poems will be selected from various period styles, next to close reading, attention will be paid to the stylistic features of the individual works in relation to the literary, cultural and social conventions of their age.

Topics include: Lyrics / love lyrics. — The medieval conventions. — Renaissance Petrar­chism (sonnets by Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney and Spenser). — Women's love lyrics: Lady Mary Wroth. — The crisis of Petrarchism: Shakespeare. — Mannerism and Metaphysical poetry: Donne and Marvell. — Love in disguise in Classicism: Pope and Swift. — Romantic love / Pre-Raphaelite love. — The breaking up of conventions: symbolism and naturalism (the Brownings, Thomas Hardy). — Modernism: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (T.S. Eliot). — Pop-art and post-modern / feminist feelings.


14 x 90 minutes per week


Fall, 2018


Requirements to get the grade

Grading: presentation, test and essay.


Compare the two poems: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "How Do I Love Thee?" (Reader, p. 24) and Sharon Olds, "Sex Without Love" (Reader, p. 34). Write 8-10 double spaced typed pages, watch out for carefully constructing your introduction and close reading, give a list of sources used. Cite your sources in the text, too! Make sure to give a good, specific title to your essay.

Reading list

The Reader: Poems selected for the seminar, PDF file uploaded to COOSPACE.

Scholarly literature TBA.

Suggested reading list